CLIC/ILC Researchers Explore New Avenues for Collaboration

Researchers from CLIC and ILC met for their first common International Workshop on Linear Colliders, which was held in Geneva from 18 to 22 October. Although the talks were mostly scientific and technical, the political message behind them was a breakthrough, as the workshop showed the progress made in unifying the two communities.

The International Workshop on Linear Colliders (IWLC), which was organised by the European Committee for Future Accelerators, hosted by CERN, and held at CERN and the International Conference Centre in Geneva, attracted a large audience of about 500 experts. Although there have been other joint conferences between the CLIC and ILC communities before, they have all been focused on specific technical and/or managerial issues.

The IWLC was part of an ongoing effort by CLIC and ILC to provide an environment in which researchers can exchange ideas, inform their peers about their most recent achievements and work together on common issues. Given the possible technical overlaps between the two projects, this was an opportunity to avoid a duplication of effort and take advantage of the great synergies between the two studies.

The CLIC and ILC communities discussed their many shared challenges, including issues with beam delivery systems and machine-detector interfaces, physics and detectors, positron generation, beam dynamics, damping rings, civil engineering and conventional facilities, and cost and schedule.

While technical issues and technology were the focus of the conference, the politics and policy of both projects were also discussed. “The conference explored how the reaction to a possible LHC discovery in the short or medium-term could affect ILC and CLIC, especially in view of the update of the European Strategy for Particle Physics in 2012”, said Jean-Pierre Delahaye, CLIC study leader. Irrespective of which of the two is chosen as a future accelerator, the two communities expect to continue to work together towards an optimal solution.

Progress has been made on both colliders: CLIC has shown that it can generate a high-intensity drive beam by beam manipulation, and has demonstrated two-beam acceleration with high-field structures; ILC has achieved its 2010 goal of making sure that half of the ILC cavities (the superconducting accelerating structures) produced reach the desired acceleration gradient. Both projects are completing R&D reports and used the workshop as an opportunity to review technical issues. While the CLIC community is planning to present its Conceptual Design Report in 2011, the ILC will publish a more advanced Technical Design Report in 2012.

The IWLC was the first of several planned annual meetings of ILC/CLIC technical working groups. According to ILC Director Barry Barish, “the workshop was a real success – a big step has been made towards one community that jointly decides the future. Now we have to let science decide between the linear collider technologies.”

To view images from the workshop, visit the photo album at ILCNewsline.

by Katarina Anthony